If you have not already, we suggest setting your Plex username to something else rather than email which is displayed on your posts in forum. You can change the username at https://app.plex.tv/desktop#!/account
Welcome to our forums! Please take a few moments to read through our Community Guidelines (also conveniently linked in the header at the top of each page). There, you'll find guidelines on conduct, tips on getting the help you may be searching for, and more!

Best solution for watching 4K content on internal home network

matthew_mmatthew_m Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

Okay everyone,

I know this has been asked numerous times, but I never seem to see the answers that help me out. I currently have a QNAP NAS TS-451+ with 8 TBs of usable storage. I have 7 TBs of content and some of that consists of 4K videos. I have recently upgraded by theater room to a Sony 4K 75 inch TV. I run all my media from a Plex server on my NAS either using the Plex app on my TV and in some cases I use DLNA. My issue is that I seem to have trouble streaming 4k content on my internal network from QNAP specifically unable to open the files at all and start watching them or continues to buffer, unless I shrink the video file, no matter what app I use to watch the video from. I prefer to take advantage of my TV and media system that I have now and view my content in 4k but at the same time I would prefer to limit my costs. I have considered buying another NAS that is marketed for 4K streaming, but I think there should be a cheaper way. I have tried Kodi and DLNA and I have similar issues with the 4K content when running from my NAS. Can I get some input on what improvements I should make to be able to watch 4k content internally only without ongoing buffering issues or unable to open them at all?

Not relevant but I have AT&T GB Fiber connection and I am running the Eero wireless devices for my internal network equipment. I have my home completely wired with CAT6.
My NAS as I mentioned is a QNAP NAS TS-451+ with 8 TBs of storage with a little under 1 TB free. I have about a TB of 4k content while everything else is 1080p and/or 720p
TV is Sony XBR75X940D with a hardwired network connection to it
I also have other media devices such as NVIDIA SHIELD (2015) and XBox One (not the S)
Plex runs on NAS connected via CAT6 connection to a gigabit switch

I am open to any suggestions or cheap alternatives. Thank you in advance!

Best Answers

Answers

  • camncharcamnchar Posts: 202Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Yeah an Odroid C2 running OpenPHT will direct play nearly everything you throw at it, including HEVC and 4k.

  • mbze430mbze430 Posts: 133Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited July 2017

    as suggested, you should look at your client side instead. All my TVs are now 4K HDR units. The only time it needs to transcode is the Plex client causing it to transcode. (LG WebOS and Samsung Tizen Plex App are guilty of this). Because of the bad coding of the Official apps by the Plex team, my options for LG WebOS is use Xplay or DLNA stream. For the Samsung Tizen I have to use the DLNA stream.

    Otherwise you would need to build a Plex Server with a Kirby Lake CPU and use the new Plex hardware transcode feature, which will degrade your 4K mediums anyway.

    I personally run my Plex Server on a cluster of ESXi hosts with Xeon processors, but that is still isn't enough to live transcode 4k streams. I am waiting for Plex to stabilize the HW GPU support so I can stick in a few cheapy Nvidia 960 GPUS in my ESXi host for some pass-through PCIe HW GPU transcoding when I am away from home (4k stream down to 1080 streams).

    My "cheapest" recommendation to all this problem is to get a Chromecast Ultra + the RJ45 kit. The CCU can play HDR+Dolby Vision+HLG and can pass Dolby Atmos. So if you have an AVR that support ALL those standards, just stick the CCU in the AVR and you are set.

  • matthew_mmatthew_m Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Thank you all for your responses so far. Peter you are correct, I was not very clear when I was explaining how it is currently works. I have tried to transcode some of the existing 4k content in Plex and keep it in the same format, only hoping that if I am transcoding it in Plex or on my NAS that it might work, but it didn't. In most cases I just keep it in the format I received it in. I prefer to not do any transcoding. I just want to direct play any content I have in its original format. So if that is a 4k video file that is 40g+ in size, I want to be able to play that without any shuttering, buffering, or no picture at all.

    As for the Nvidia Shield, I was able to copy some of my 4k content to that device and I had more success running it on there than I did running the files from my NAS, but I still had some issues with running it from that device as well. My only thought was that because it was the first Shield rather then the newly released one it didn't support all forms of 4k such as HDR and Vision. The NUC would definitely probably help resolve the issue but its up there in price and only serves one purpose. I would rather invest that money into another NAS that supports a 4K if I was going to spend another $600 or more.

    Camnchar - You mentioned the ODroid, what would be the min specs I would need accomplish this?

    Mbz - I agree that is more than likely client side, although my TV supports all formats but it could be a coding issue as you suggested. I have a Samsung from several years ago and I remember having numerous issues with Plex app on that TV. Trying the Chromecast is super inexpensive and that would quickly rule out a client side issue if I still encounter issues. Are you aware of any Smart TVs that are known to work better with streaming 4k content from a NAS device? I ask this because I also have a Hi-Sense 4k and another Haier 4k TV setup in my kids play rooms. Although those TVs are much cheaper and I didn't get them to be handling all the top end content out there, its worth me testing on them if they have been rumored to work better than the Sony.

  • Peter_WPeter_W Posts: 2,189Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja

    I think we are running around in circles here. Not sure who is not understanding whom but I will try again, and I hope for no hard feelings. I am just trying to get to the bottom of this to ensure you get the best possible solution.

    What is a NAS that "supports 4K" in your mind? You already have a NAS that that can send data fast enough across a gigabit LAN in order to accomodate a 4K high bitrate stream. And you've concluded that everything is wired with CAT6 (4K has to be wired, wireless will be impossible) so that should not be an issue either.

    Server running VMware/NAPP-IT/OmniOS/ZFS
    Lian Li PC-Z70 - Corsair AX760 - Intel E3-1245V3 w Noctua NH-U14S CPU cooler - Supermicro X10SAE - 32GB Kingston ECC RAM - Intel 530 SSD 80GB - LSI MegaRAID 9240-8i (flashed to IT mode) - 8 3TB WD RED in Raid-Z2

    Please check the support site first - https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us :: No PM's unless requested ::

  • matthew_mmatthew_m Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Thank you all for your input. I will start with a Chromecast Ultra and see how it goes.

    Just so I am not leaving any question unanswered and in case someone has something new to provide, my NAS is also my Plex server, so its not just a straight storage device. If you have used a QNAP or Synology NAS before, they come with apps and all kinds of tools, including its own Media clients, Plex, Kodi, etc. It was my understanding that your Plex server had to be able to handle 4K output. Maybe I misunderstood this, but if its just about acting as a storage device only, then you are correct, the NAS shouldn't be the problem. Hope I have cleared up the confusion.

  • matthew_mmatthew_m Posts: 14Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Do you think the Roku 4 would be good or it has to be a Chromecast Ultra?

  • mbze430mbze430 Posts: 133Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I don't think Roku has Dolby Vision. If that isn't something you looking for than guess it doesn't matter.

  • Peter_WPeter_W Posts: 2,189Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja

    I double-checked and the receiver app for chromecast has not been updated with the additional capabilities over the regular chromecast. The best options as of now are to use PMP or the Shield (in a home-theater setup where 4K and x265 are important factors).

    Server running VMware/NAPP-IT/OmniOS/ZFS
    Lian Li PC-Z70 - Corsair AX760 - Intel E3-1245V3 w Noctua NH-U14S CPU cooler - Supermicro X10SAE - 32GB Kingston ECC RAM - Intel 530 SSD 80GB - LSI MegaRAID 9240-8i (flashed to IT mode) - 8 3TB WD RED in Raid-Z2

    Please check the support site first - https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us :: No PM's unless requested ::

  • camncharcamnchar Posts: 202Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    If you get the odroid from Amazon, you can always return it if it doesn't meet your needs.

    https://www.amazon.com/ODROID-C2-Project-Board-Quad-Gigabit/dp/B01CQBRXOQ/

  • lorin Llorin L Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    From my experience, it all comes down to the client being able (or not) to use Direct Streaming and the CPU on your NAS being able to take the beating of live transcoding.

    In my case, streaming 4K content from my QNAP 269L to my Samsung TV's Plex client, involves transcoding. It all goes down to hell from there; the CPU is too weak to perform such a task. It will go above 90% utilization and the streaming becomes a painful experience.
    However, if I use the Plex client on my Mac, not requiring any sort of transcoding, the CPU usage hovers around 40% and all is good, playing the exact same 4K file.
    Streaming the same file via the TV's DLNA "file browser", keeps the NAS's CPU usage around 10% and the streaming is flawless.
    As long as you are wired on gigabit, bandwidth is not a concern, unless you have ... 10 clients streaming 4K at the same time, saturating the NIC on your NAS.

    The way I see it, it all comes down to the balance between performance($$$) and convenience; you will either have to use an expensive NAS, with a powerful CPU that can handle whatever Plex's transcoding throws at it, or look at client alternatives that will not tax the CPU on your exiting NAS.

  • CableSharkCableShark Posts: 4Members ✭✭

    I stream 4k from my media server , and I am very serious when it comes to my Audio / Video collection . My setup works great for me, and most of my 4K videos are 80GB and over

    ****Here is my setup .****

    • I have everything in my basement I hate seeing cables, so each room I have cables which runs back to my basement switch room.
    • A Custom Build NAS server Intel Xeon E3-1230 V5 with 8GB RAM 4 x 4TB HDD and 1 x 1TB for CACHE Drive ( The reason I chose Xeon E3-1230 its low cost 8 thread CPU but it does not have GPU so its less expensive then core i7 and more powerful CPU . Remember Plex Server does not utilize GPU it can only utilize CPU no point of getting i5 or i7 and spend more. When you buy motherboard just add a cheep graphic card so system can boot. I don't understand why people buy CPU with GPU on it , because everyone add graphic card on motherboard and Build-in GPU does nothing. I wish Plex Media Server can make use of GPU , but currently they don't.
    • Operating system is linux base Limetech unRAID ( Limetech unRAID License cost like $60 or something but highly custom , you can run docker container, you can integrate Usenet, and so much more )
    • 8 port network Switch I have Cisco Switches SG300 its best choice ( 1 gig) , you can buy used from eBay and they are cheep. You may chose HP switches but purchase business switch. A good switch make whole lot of difference, Switch handle all your network traffic and 4K means a lot of network traffic. A bad switch will choke. You may even be more technical then me , but for those who are unfamiliar - Switch maintain Arp table, and have to maintain and memorize incremental tcp ports and those start from 1024 and ends 65535 . After 30 minutes a cheep switch will choke, and same is with WIFI routers.

    • Google WIFI with 3 access points

    • Every room , I have Cat6 cable ( 1gig) which connects back to my basement switch.
    • My NAS server runs Plex Media Server and I have set it to "Transcode Quality = Auto and background transcoding = slow
    • I have dual Ethernet connected to my switch with Nick teaming ( which utilize both network card). but don't worry about it if you have 1 nick card that's ok too, I have tested it does not make whole lot of difference.

    Main Media room: Have nVidia Shield TV connected with Ethernet - 4 K video and I use DTS - MA and higher sound decoding ( runs like butter)

    Living Room : Samsung 8 series curve TV I use native Plex application install on it and connected to WIFI , It can only handle 1080p , if I try 4K it start buffering, I know WIFI can be unreliable and slower , so I test my living room TV by connecting it through ethernet and it turn out to be even worst . I did some research and found Samsung ethernet technology is the worst. I checked they support Cat7 cable but no difference in data transfer rate.

    I will be adding nVideo Shield in my Living room too, if you like to watch local stored media there is nothing better then nVidia Shield TV, I have tried almost every media player but nVidia Shield is the best.

    My experience with network technology in appliances . When it comes to network and software technology only US technology is best, Japan/Korea/China have always been behind in this game, I tried Sony which is even worst. I have seen good reviews for LG and that can be because they run webOS which is pam OS they purchased Pam OS back in 2013 from HP. Samsung also bought Boxee way back, and Boxee was 5 year ahead of everyone , but they did nothing with it and killed it 2015, such a shame . I loved boxee , I still have Boxee box purchased in 2007 in my basement and it is still better then most current Android media players.

    Here are some screen shots of my unRaid media server - If you have any network question you are more then welcome , I may not have all the answers but will try ( I am a network engineer consultant by trade currently working for Cisco )


  • Peter_WPeter_W Posts: 2,189Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja

    @CableShark said:
    Remember Plex Server does not utilize GPU it can only utilize CPU no point of getting i5 or i7 and spend more. When you buy motherboard just add a cheep graphic card so system can boot. I don't understand why people buy CPU with GPU on it , because everyone add graphic card on motherboard and Build-in GPU does nothing. I wish Plex Media Server can make use of GPU , but currently they don't.

    https://support.plex.tv/articles/115002178853-using-hardware-accelerated-streaming/

    They do.

    Server running VMware/NAPP-IT/OmniOS/ZFS
    Lian Li PC-Z70 - Corsair AX760 - Intel E3-1245V3 w Noctua NH-U14S CPU cooler - Supermicro X10SAE - 32GB Kingston ECC RAM - Intel 530 SSD 80GB - LSI MegaRAID 9240-8i (flashed to IT mode) - 8 3TB WD RED in Raid-Z2

    Please check the support site first - https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us :: No PM's unless requested ::

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 7,876Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 4

    ...albeit with some caveats:

    There are a couple of drawbacks to Hardware-Accelerated Streaming:

    The video quality may be lower, appearing more blurry or blocky. This is especially true and more noticeable when streaming at low quality levels below 720p. (Hardware-accelerated video encoders are faster, but lower quality than software encoders.)

    Some rare video formats may play incorrectly on certain devices. This is unexpected, and users should report these issues to Plex in our friendly forums.

    So, before you ship in a boat-load of cash on this Hardware Encoding solution thinking it may be the answer to all your prayers - know that it very likely is not.

    It may well be more cost effective to up your CPU game instead. A GPU does some niche things - some really well - others not so well. A CPU does a lot more.

    Consider also, as is the nature of things like this, that top of the line, end-all-be-all GPU unit you buy today, may, in 3 months be a notorious piece of junk they're giving away free in a box of corn flakes. Plex's limited GPU possibilities have you pigeon-holed into only a few units. The shelf-life of a strong CPU may run longer.

    If you happen to already have A GPU that Plex can make use of - and also have a crappy CPU - well, there you go.
    If you're going to have to start buying stuff so you can Hardware Encode - that may not be what you really want to do.

    Tony

    FileBot For Easy Plex File Naming: http://www.filebot.net/

    Automated Plex Naming With Filebot: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/191687/plex-naming-schemes-for-filebot

    Plex Friendly Handbrake Guide - DVDs/BluRays: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1335697/#Comment_1335697

    Plex Clients: AFTVs, Androids, PMP, Rokus (running RARflix: http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2014/09/roku-plex-setup-guide.html ) Link May Work - May Not

  • CableSharkCableShark Posts: 4Members ✭✭

    Peter

    This is a new info , may be worth playing but really not a solution for GPU utilization like JuiseWSA mention and I run Docker container on Linux , which is not supported.

    I wish Plex utilizes same technology as Crypto currency has adopted , they crap out GPU juice . GPU have become way advance why not make use of it , there could be some limitations which Plex coders know and I don’t , I am not as coder anyway.

    Thanks

  • tixetsaltixetsal Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @CableShark said:

    • 8 port network Switch I have Cisco Switches SG300 its best choice ( 1 gig) , you can buy used from eBay and they are cheep. You may chose HP switches but purchase business switch. A good switch make whole lot of difference, Switch handle all your network traffic and 4K means a lot of network traffic. A bad switch will choke. You may even be more technical then me , but for those who are unfamiliar - Switch maintain Arp table, and have to maintain and memorize incremental tcp ports and those start from 1024 and ends 65535 . After 30 minutes a cheep switch will choke, and same is with WIFI routers.

    A switch as you are describing would not be aware of tcp ports.

Sign In or Register to comment.